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Skulls, Hackers And An Octopus: Derby City Playwrights Launch New Festival

Courtesy Derby City Playwrights

Last spring, after producing the eighth season of the Ten-Minute Play Festival at the Bard’s Town, Brian Walker was ready for a new challenge.

“I felt like I had gotten the routine down pretty much to a science,” Walker says.

At the same time, he and his group, The Derby City Playwrights, were planning for their new season. DCP is a collection of Louisville writers -- facilitated by Walker -- dedicated to the development of “locally grown plays.” In the past, the group has produced 10-minute works and staged readings of full-length plays.

“So I thought, what if we nix the Ten-Minute Play Festival and we just focused on the full-length plays and instead of doing readings, tried to do productions,” Walker says.

Bard Theatre Executive Artistic Director Doug Schutte says this is certainly the most ambitious project that the the Bard’s Town theater -- where the plays will be presented -- has taken on.

"Our Ten-Minute Festival can be daunting, but six brand-new full-length plays in rep over three weeks -- we may be crazy,” Schutte says. “But it's a good kind of crazy. This is going to be a 'can't miss' festival.”

According to Walker, the new play festival -- appropriately called The Derby City Playwrights New Play Festival -- was developed over the course of the group’s second season through monthly workshops with writers, actors and directors. The six resulting plays represent a variety of styles and voices, ranging from intimate personal journeys about growing up and surviving family to dark comic worlds exploring technology, love and sexuality.

Walker says the New Play Festival serves as a key development step, one often not afforded new works, offering the playwrights an opportunity to work through a month-long rehearsal process with actors and a director, leading to three public performances of each play in July.

Here are the works that will be presented:

@Con by Ben Unwin, explores sexual identity and powerful technology set against a backdrop of hackers and revenge. 

The Bus Stop at Sycamore and Vine by Eli Keel and Tyler Curth, revolves around a popular small town hangout: the bus stop. The lives of four teenagers are shaken from their stagnant paths of drugs and bullying when a new girl comes to town. (Disclosure: Keel is a WFPL contributor.) 

Rachel White’s The Brownstone is an absurd comedy featuring three squatters occupying an abandoned brownstone, until the appearance of a mysterious cop upends their perceived paradise.

A research doctor’s secret admirer attempts to woo her with the skulls of young children in the romantically disturbed whodunnit Schrodinger’s Girl by David Clark.

In Taj Whitesell’s Exposure, a teenage girl struggles to help a ghost move on to the other side, even as her own home life collapses around her.

Angst and hilarity ensue as three estranged siblings embark on a pot- and booze-fueled road trip to deliver a stolen octopus, in an effort to fulfill their deceased mother’s final wish in Brian Walker’s High Tide.

More information about production dates and times is available here. 


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